Friday, December 18, 2015

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Celebrating Israel
There is no shortage of negative news about Israel; Every once in a while we Israelis should remember there is much for which to be proud.
In large part due to slanted media reports, propaganda and downright lies, impressions of Israel worldwide tend to be negative – particularly among those who have never visited the country.
But according to the UN Human Development Index released this week, things in the Jewish state are not so bad. In fact, they are pretty good.
The index, which takes into consideration income, life expectancy and education for a combined development score, ranks Israel 18 out of 188 countries in human development. Not only did Israel’s score surpass by far all of its neighbors (Qatar is the highest ranked Arab state at No. 32; Saudi Arabia, 36; Lebanon 67; Jordan 80; Egypt, 108; and war-torn Syria at 134), but it outscored the EU and OECD averages as well. Countries such as France, Spain, Italy and even Japan scored lower than Israel. Sub-Saharan Africa scored the lowest.
A number of factors come together to give Israel one of the highest scores in the world. For instance, Israel has the second lowest rate of maternal mortality in the world with just two deaths for every 100,000 births. And at 2.9 births per woman, the Jewish state manages to maintain such a low mortality rate while having the highest fertility rate of any country in the “Very High Human Development” category (those countries ranked in the top 49). For the sake of comparison, the US has 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births at a two-birthsper- woman average.
Anti-Semites Unwittingly Aid Israel
I admit to getting a kick out of seeing anti-Semites inadvertently help the very Jewish state they dream of destroying. And it happens more often than you might think, as was driven home by three very different news reports this week.
The first is that some 8,000 French Jews moved to Israel this year, topping last year’s all-time high of 7,000. Immigration is always good for Israel. Not only does each group of immigrants bring its own ideas and strengths that contribute to making Israel a better place, but the country simply needs a critical mass of people to survive as a Jewish state in an Arab region. Indeed, had it not been for the millions of Jews who immigrated since 1948, Israel might not have survived.
Most immigrants to Israel are Zionists; they genuinely care about the Jewish state. But even so, most of them wouldn’t have left comfortable lives elsewhere had there not been a push factor as well as a pull factor; that’s why most American Zionists still don’t come. And usually, anti-Semitism has been part of that push factor, just as it is for French Jews today.
So thank you, anti-Semites, for turning a country of 800,000 people into one eight million strong. It would never have happened without your help.
Book explodes myth of Moroccan coexistence
It is a sorry sign of how intolerant of minorities were the theologians of the al-Maliki school of Islam in the Maghreb until the colonial era, that the first thing they published when the printing press came to Morocco in the 19th century, was not a scientific tract, or even the Koran, but the Epistle against the Jews which al-Maghili wrote to the chieftains of Touat five centuries earlier.
Maghreb theologians preserved a strict interpretation of the dhimmi laws which governed the relationship of Jews and Muslims under the 8th century Pact of Omar. The prophet Muhammad had spared the lives of the defeated Jews and Christians as 'People of the Book', rather than put them to the sword, but they had to abide by rules denoting their subjugation and inferiority to Muslims.
Following codification in the 13th century by the literalist theologian Ibn Taymiyya, 'Dhimmi' acquired a precise meaning in Islamic jurisprudence: non-Muslims would be 'protected' by Muslims in return for a capitation or poll tax. This begs the question - protected against whom?
Violent mobs singled out the Jewish 'Other' for attack and looting. Jews would 'cop it' at times of political turmoil or trouble.
Jews could not build new synagogues or repair them without permission; they had to allow Muslims to enter them at will. Jewish homes had sometimes to be painted red or blue, even after Jews had been permitted in modern times to move out of the Jewish mellah into the medina.
Jews were forbidden from teaching their children the Koran. This was to prevent Jews engaging in theological polemics with Muslims.
Jews had to wear special badges and black attire. A Jew's djellaba was worn awkwardly 'off the shoulder' for maximum discomfort. Jews were not permitted to blow the ram's horn (shofar) in a public place. The Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem would use this pretext to incite anti-Jewish riots in 1929.

Could a pre-Holocaust Israel have thwarted Hitler?
Veteran diplomat Yehuda Avner knew he wasn’t well, and went to see his doctor. He wanted one last throw of the dice – and, in an extraordinary way, he achieved it from beyond the grave.
The Manchester-born octogenarian had already completed one highly well-received book of non-fiction, “The Prime Ministers,” which was turned into two successful films. It was an account by the ultimate insider of all the Israeli prime ministers for whom he had worked – from David Ben-Gurion when Avner was a young man, to Menachem Begin, who famously called Avner “my Shakespeare.”
Now Avner, who became Israel’s first British-born diplomat to return to his country of birth as ambassador, wanted to try something different.
The idea came to him while attending a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Mount Herzl after his 1995 retirement from service as Israel’s ambassador to Australia. Avner has recounted that during interim prime minister Shimon Peres’s address, he apologized to the Jews who had been taken by Hitler, saying: “We were 10 years too late.”
And upon hearing Peres that day, Avner thought: “What if we hadn’t been?….”
What if, Avner wondered, Israel had been created in 1937, rather than in 1948? What if the recommendations of Britain’s Peel Commission had been accepted, and that Israel had existed before the Nazi Holocaust? Could Jews have been saved?
Poll: Most Israelis want NIF out of Israel
A poll conducted Tuesday shows that 53% of the Israeli public support a law that would prevent the New Israel Fund (NIF) from operating in Israel, while 24% oppose it, and the rest have either not heard of the NIF or have no opinion.
A much larger majority – 67% – said that they support Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's (Likud) recent decision to ban the ultra-leftist Breaking the Silence from entering IDF bases.
A full 58% of the public said that Breaking the Silence should be outlawed, while 31% opposed this and 11% had no opinion on the matter.
Two thirds of the Israeli public – 66% – support outlawing B'tselem. A whopping 80% of respondents from the religious sector supported the change.
From Rojava to Ramallah: The trappings of statehood
Is this really the best path to Palestinian statehood? The Palestinians need to ask themselves what their end-game is. If it is an independent state alongside Israel, then the billions of (donor) dollars spent on diplomatic missions gaining recognition for a state that doesn’t exist – and would crumble the day after declaring independence – would be far better spent building a civil society from the ground up.
Also, and ironically something that only Israelis seem to understand, is that only when Palestinians turn inward to build a functioning society will a majority of Israelis become convinced that relinquishing territory will bring less terror and more order, rather than the other way around.
Israelis are also the only ones who seem to recall two serious and far-reaching offers for a two-state solution (in 2000 and 2008) rejected by Palestinian interlocutors; two seminal moments that only add to this widespread notion of mistrust. A serious effort at building a stable and functioning society could do wonders to earn back that trust.
Between Gaza, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya, there are enough failed states surrounding Israel. Rather than focusing on building a state in name but not in function to join this un-illustrious group, the Palestinians should look to Rojava and Erbil, where independent and functioning states exist in all but the UN.
The success of the Kurds in creating a functioning democracy in Rojava and Erbil – eschewing the trappings of statehood while patiently waiting the day of their independence in spite of everything – should serve as a model for the Palestinians and a as source of inspiration for us all.
New Bill Would Cut Funding For Palestinians If They Join UN
The new omnibus bill released Wednesday would cut funding for Palestinians if they seek membership with the United Nations or pursue action against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Palestinian Authority (PA), the governing body of the Palestinian territories, risks losing its financial assistance from the United States if it pursues action against Israel in the International Criminal Court or obtains membership in the United Nations without conferring with Israel, according to the new omnibus bill put forward by the House Committee on Appropriations Wednesday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas inked PA’s membership to the ICC in April of this year in what is an apparent attempt to pursue war crimes prosecution against Israel. Israel is not a member of the ICC, however Israeli citizens could face criminal prosecution for alleged crimes in Palestinian areas.
Greece, Cyprus and Israel in Strategic Repositioning
Officially, the “Second Trilateral Political Consultations at the level of Secretaries General” were addressing regional and international issues as varied as energy development, immigration, the war against terror, tourism, environment, water management, and collaboration in scientific research and technology.
Unofficially, they were ticking off the Turks.
Even less officially: Israel has new-found gas reserves it needs to sell, and a dwindling number of nearby customers.
The intriguing diplomatic dance first presented itself late Monday, when the spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a mysterious statement: “From the Foreign Ministry Director General Dr. Dore Gold: Israel has always aspired to stable relations with Turkey and constantly is constantly assessing the avenues to achieve this goal.”
Brazil rejects Dani Dayan as ambassador, official says
Brazil will not accept settler leader Dani Dayan as Israel’s next ambassador, a senior official in Brasilia said.
Following diplomatic protocol, Brazil will simply not respond to Israel’s months-old request to confirm Dayan’s nomination, waiting until Jerusalem gets the hint and proposes a different envoy to its capital, the official said this week. Dayan was named as envoy in August, and endorsed by the Israeli cabinet in September, but Brazil has maintained a frosty silence on the appointment rather than issuing the customary confirmation.
The South American country is rejecting Dayan not only because of his senior positions in the Yesha Council, a committee representing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but also due to the unorthodox way in which his appointment was announced, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his nomination of Dayan as Israel’s new ambassador to Brazil on August 5, only one year after the current envoy, Reda Mansour, took up his post in Brasilia.
Saudi anti-terror alliance won’t target Hezbollah, Lebanese PM says
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam said that the new Saudi-led counter-terrorism alliance, in which Lebanon is a partner, would not target the Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, the Lebanese Daily Star news site reported Wednesday.
Salam said that he had received assurances from Saudi Arabia that the alliance of Muslim countries, announced on Tuesday, would target only the Islamic State and “like-minded” extremist groups.
The statement came in the wake of criticism by Hezbollah, a key member of Lebanon’s governing coalition, of Salam’s preliminary approval of Lebanon’s participation in the alliance.
Sources close to Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by the US and Israel, told Lebanese daily An-Nahar that Salam could not make a decision to join such an alliance without first consulting his cabinet.
Saudi satellite operator drops Hezbollah channel from airwaves
Last week, Arabsat, the satellite operator majority-owned by Saudi Arabia, dropped Hezbollah’s television station from its broadcasts. Arabsat is the latest in a long list of satellite operators to drop the channel, Al-Manar, from its broadcasts.
The move comes just weeks after the kingdom imposed sanctions on 12 Hezbollah operatives accused of carrying out activities on behalf of the Lebanon-based group, and imposed sanctions on its “investment arms.” Saudi Arabia had already designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in March of last year.
In 2005, Al-Manar was being broadcast by more than a dozen satellite operators around the globe. But a coalition of organizations – including the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – concerned about terrorist-owned media’s incitement to violence, exposed Al-Manar as an outlet controlled and operated by Hezbollah, whose programs contained both subtle and overt incitement to violence. The coalition’s efforts lead 11 satellite operators to cease Al-Manar’s broadcasts and to the channel being banned in France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, and Australia, among others.
Saudi ‘Anti-Terror’ Coalition Collapses: Alleged Member Pakistan Surprised To Be Included
Saudi Arabia’s newly announced “Islamic military alliance,” purportedly created fight terrorism, continues to unravel.
Pakistani officials said on Wednesday the country was not consulted before the nation was announced as a member of the 34-country bloc.
A senior official in Pakistan’s Foreign Office told the Express Tribune the country was investigating the alleged alliance. “We came to know about it (the alliance) through news reports. We have asked our ambassador in Saudi Arabia to get details on it,” the official said.
The newspaper reported the comments suggest that Pakistan was taken by surprise by the Saudi announcement.
A separate Pakistani described as a senior government functionary told The Express Tribune that he could not confirm Pakistan’s participation in the Saudi anti-terror coalition.
“We have been cooperating with Saudi Arabia on counter-terrorism efforts but I am not sure we are going to be part of any military alliance,” said the official.
Prominent Saudi Blogger Claims ‘Anti-Terror’ Coalition Really About Kingdom’s Internal Politics
Mujtahid Bin Hareth Bin Hammaam, the prominent Saudi blogger and critic of the ruling elite, claimed on Twitter that Saudi Arabia’s announcement of an “Islamic military alliance” may not be what it seems.
Hammaam is well-known in the international media for using the Twitter ID @Mujtahidd.
He claimed the alliance, purportedly created fight terrorism, is actually motivated by power politics within the Saudi royal family.
He called the alliance an attempt by Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the king’s son and second in line to the throne, to score points in public opinion at the expense of his cousin and bitter enemy, Mohammed Bin Nayef, the heir to the throne, whom Western governments deem as more trustworthy.
“The coalition which Mohammed Bin Salman has declared has includes no practical organization, no joint forces, no military coordination, no regulations and no organizational structure,” Mujtahed tweeted.
The “coalition,” according to Mujtahed, doesn’t include the “bare minimum for the formation of alliances; that is, setting clear goals, defining the enemy and the nature of the cooperation and what patterns of action are acceptable.”
Saudi Arabia orders execution of teenager for attending a PROTEST
Abdullah ah-Zaher became the youngest person given the death sentence, according to campaigners Reprieve.
Campaigners claim Abdullah ah-Zaher, who attended the protest four years ago was put on death row as part of a crackdown on political dissent.
The 19-year-old has been moved to solitary confinement and could be beheaded at any moment.
Despite possible repercussions, his family have gone public with his story, in a final bid to save his life.
His father Hassan al-Zaher said: “Please help me save my son from the imminent threat of death. He doesn’t deserve to die just because he participated in a protest rally
PreOccupiedTerritory: Sunni, Shia, Continue War Over Who Represents Religion Of Peace (satire)
Opposing factions in a regional war continued to engage today in attempts to attain supremacy in a 1,300–year-old conflict regarding which side authentically represents the Religion of Peace.
Shiite and Sunni Muslims, whose split extends back to the early years of Islam following the death of Muhammad, clashed this week in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and various parts of West Africa, in attacks and ongoing battles that claimed hundreds of lives. Saudi Arabia, which claims leadership of the Sunni world, and Iran, which asserts primacy among Shiites, continued to engage in a proxy war for regional dominance that has dragged all the neighboring countries into the quagmire involving Iraqi militias, Kurds, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Hezbollah, the Islamic State, Hamas, Libya, Nigeria, and many others. Victory in this protracted war, it is hoped, will determine which side can legitimately claim to be the embodiment of the religion of peace.
Experts stress that the association of Islam with peace is not, as many believe, in its name. While the Semitic root s-l-m does occur in salam, the Arabic word for peace, in the religion’s name it is used more to denote submission, in this case to the will of Allah. Rather, they explain, the term “religion of peace” refers to the behavior and societal outcome of following Islamic principles in daily life and politics. “The link to the Semitic root for peace is convenient, but ultimately not what makes Islam the bringer of so much peace that the world has come to know and love,” said Islamic theologian Mustafa Massikr. “The essence of Islam as the religion of peace lies in its unsurpassed record in bringing diverse peoples together, primarily through conquest, and it is that peaceful model that characterizes the Islamic world to this day.”
MEMRI: Will The West Ease The Sanctions Even Though Iran Is Not Meeting Its JCPOA Obligations?
With the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors' closure, on December 15, 2015, of Iran's PMD (Possible Military Dimensions) dossier, the JCPOA is now back on track for the implementation that began on Adoption Day, October 18, 2015.
It is now Iran's turn to meet its JCPOA obligations, which include removing nine tons of low-level enriched uranium from the country, dismantling centrifuges so that only 6,000 active ones remain, pouring concrete into the core of the nuclear reactor at Arak in a way that will prevent it from being used for producing plutonium, adopting the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and more.
Once the IAEA confirms that Iran has done this, Implementation Day will be declared; under it, the lifting of some of the sanctions on Iran and the suspension of others will take place, as promised by the U.S. and European countries on October 19, 2015.
However, at this point, Iran is providing only a show of making progress in its implementation of its obligations. Inactive centrifuges are being transferred from site to site, and not a single active centrifuge has yet been dismantled. Iran has reached agreements with Russia to store its enriched uranium, and documents have been signed with the superpowers for changing the designation of the Arak reactor. But so far Iran has actually met none of its obligations.
Iran Taking Over Latin America
"This is a matter of life or death. I need you to be an intermediary with Argentina to get help for my country's nuclear program. We need Argentina to share its nuclear technology with us. It will be impossible to advance with our program without Argentina's cooperation." – Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
According to Venezuelan informants, whitewashing Iran's accused from the AMIA attack was only a secondary objective in its outreach to Argentina. The primary objective was to gain access to Argentina's nuclear technology and materials -- a goal Iran has for more than three decades.
During the last 32 years, Iran has achieved a resounding success in promoting an anti-US and anti-Israel message in Latin America. Its state-owned television network, HispanTV, broadcasts in Spanish 24 hours a day, seven days a week in at least 16 countries throughout the region.
The lifting of sanctions and influx of billions of dollars as a result of Iran's nuclear deal will undoubtedly help Iran in Latin America, where many countries face economic turmoil and can use an Iranian "stimulus."
While Latin America is often regarded as a foreign policy backwater for the United States, it is the geopolitical prize for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Argentine prosecutor asks court to reopen Nisman complaint against ex-president
A federal prosecutor has asked an Argentine court to reopen the complaint filed by the late special prosecutor Alberto Nisman charging that former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing.
The prosecutor, Raul Plee, filed a request Monday to reopen the case with the Federal Criminal Cassation Court.
On Monday, just after the new government voided the Argentine pact with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA attack, Plee asked the justices to analyze new information collected during the case about the unconstitutionality of the Iran memorandum with an eye toward reviving Nisman’s theory that the pact was a bid to cover up Iran’s role in the bombing.
According to the state-run news agency Telam, Plee wrote in his request that during hearings about the unconstitutionality of the pact, the Foreign Ministry presented “secret and confidential” documents that could be considered useful to reactivate Nisman’s accusation against Kirchner, her Jewish former foreign minister, Hector Timerman, and others.
Iranian State-Run Newspaper Runs Unprecedented Anti-Censorship Editorial
In an unprecedented move, an Iranian government-run newspaper wrote a front page editorial in the form of a letter addressed to President Hassan Rouhani last week, condemning the Iranian government’s censorship of the media and subsequent prohibition of images and mention of former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami.
The move came on behalf of Ettelaat editor Seyyed Mahmoud Doaei, according to The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton. Doaei, who is a reformist cleric, achieved several advanced degrees in theology from Iran’s Theological School in Qom, Iran, and Najaf, Iraq, in 1979. Studying in both countries for advanced theological degrees is not uncommon in Iran.
Doaei’s editorial is especially timely considering elections are just two months away (February 26, 2016), and Khatami former Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref is running for the position of speaker of the Majles, Iran’s Parliament. Khatami’s backing would garner much popular support to help Aref secure the post he is seeking.
Iran Impounds Thousands of Cars Driven by Women Not Wearing Hijab
Iran has impounded thousands of cars driven by women whose heads were not “properly covered,” the International Business Times reported on Wednesday.
The measure is part of a broader police crackdown on traffic violators, including men.
“Over the past eight months, more than 40,000 cases of bad hijab have been dealt with,” Brigadier General Teymour Hosseini was quoted as saying, noting that in “most cases” the cars were impounded and the female drivers were “referred to the judiciary.”
In November, Iranian police issued a warning to women to observe the hijab rules while driving, and said that those failing to do so would have their cars impounded and driving privileges revoked.
Iranian Cleric: I Converted Hitler’s Grandson to Islam
An Iranian cleric recently claimed in a sermon that he is responsible for converting Hitler’s grandson to Islam.
The cleric, a leading imam in Mahmoud Abad, a small city in northern Iran, claimed in his most recent Friday prayer address the he is responsible for converting Hitler’s grandson, who he did not mention by name.
“When I asked him [Hitler’s grandson] why he chose Islam, he answered because he found Iranians altruistic and family-oriented people,” the imam said, according to an independent translation of his original Farsi language remarks, which were published on an Iranian website.
Czech Parliament rejects labeling of products from Israeli settlements
The Czech parliament passed a resolution on Thursday urging their government not to implement a European Union decision to label Israeli products exported from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Czech leaders denounced the EU resolution, with Czech media reports quoting Culture Minister Daniel Herman as saying in the parliamentary debate it was “absolutely necessary to reject the efforts to discriminate against the only democracy in the Middle East.”
The measure against the EU measure passed by an overwhelming majority.
The Czech Republic is one of Israel’s strongest European allies. Israel’s ambassador Gary Koren thanked the Czech legislators for their decision.
US lawmakers condemn EU labeling of settlement products
A bipartisan group of Congress members introduced a resolution Thursday expressing staunch opposition to guidelines issued recently by the European Union mandating the labeling of products manufactured in Israeli West Bank settlements and in the Golan Heights.
Democratic representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, and Republicans Peter Roskam and Ed Royce – all legislators with strong pro-Israel records – co-authored the resolution. In a statement released after the resolution was submitted, the four accused the EU of advancing a general boycott of Israel.
The guidelines, they said, “only encourage and prompt consumers to boycott all Israeli goods.”
“This is counterproductive to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, harmful to U.S. national security interests, and contributes to the deeply misguided anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” the four complained. “Boycotts chip away at economic integration, which negatively affects Israelis and Palestinians alike. The establishment of the European Economic Community was predicated on the notion that peace and security are achieved through trade, economic cooperation, and job creation – not boycotts and isolation. The same is true for Israelis and Palestinians.”
Daphne Anson: "This Vote Sends a Very Hurtful Message to Australian Jews"
The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) was formed in 1977 as the result of a merger between the Congregationalists, Methodists and Presbyterians here. Its statement regarding Jews and Judaism notwithstanding, relations with the Jewish community have frequently been fraught owing to its often hostile attitude towards Israel, and like many Protestant churches nowadays it appears to have been hijacked by political leftists espousing many a trendy political cause. (This descent into leftist political activism has seen it lose more members than any other church in Australia, by the way.)
During a debate on the Middle East its national assembly, reports The Australian newspaper, the UCA has "opened the way for members to embrace" the BDS movement, its president, the anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions movement"
The Uniting Church in Australia has "opened the way for members to embrace the anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions movement", its president, Stuart McMillan saying that the church had "encouraged members to be ­informed and to consider personally boycotting" goods produced "within the occupied territories".
Professors and Students at U. San Diego protest Trump by wearing “Muslim Yellow Stars”
The Times of San Diego reports, USD Professor Leads Silent Protest Against Anti-Muslim Rhetoric:
A religious studies professor at the University of San Diego who is concerned about growing anti-Muslim rhetoric has started a silent protest, with students and faculty wearing yellow stars marked “Muslim.”
Bahar Davary, associate professor of theology and religious studies, came up with the idea during her class “Islamic Faith and Practice,” an introduction to Islam, and her students suggested several designs.
The yellow Star of David is what the Nazis required all Jews to wear prior to the Holocaust. The crescent moon and word “Muslim” draw the connection with today’s politics.
“What it symbolizes is that there have been people who have been made to be the ‘other’ throughout history,” said Davary, an Iranian-American whose academic specialty at the Catholic university is Islam….
“It’s not only Trump. It’s not only Ben Carson,” Davary said. “There have been anti-Muslim actions taking place. In some ways it’s frightening.”

According to the report, as many as 100 faculty and students wore the Yellow Star. But the professor doesn’t want the Muslim Yellow Star worn off campus, because, you know, some people might misunderstand:
For now, it’s a campus protest only. She advises her students not to wear the stars off campus in case the meaning is misunderstood.
New York Times Arab Correspondent: Israel Oppresses Palestinians With Parking Tickets
The Arab journalist whom The New York Times has hired to report on Israel has come up with the most “terrifying” example yet of Israeli oppression: the issuing of parking tickets to Palestinians.
The reporter, Diaa Hadid, who describes herself as “an Australian of Lebanese & Egyptian descent,” previously served as public relations officer for the pro-Palestinian group “Ittijah.” Its director, Amir Makhloul, is in an Israeli prison for espionage on behalf of Hezbollah terrorists.
Hadid’s resume also includes a stint as a columnist for the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada. With that kind of track record, you almost expect her articles for the Times to exhibit a pro-Palestinian bias. And she has indeed lived up to those expectations.
But one would hope that her editors back in New York would exercise a little more discretion before rushing her dispatches into print. This week’s blast from Hadid is a good example of what I mean.
Diaa Hadid, Former NGO Worker, Keeps Up Advocacy Work at New York Times
Years after New York Times reporter Diaa Hadid left the NGO world for journalism, she has not left behind her partisan advocacy work.
While Hadid was working for the anti-Israel organization Ittijah, shortly after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., she wrote, "I can't look at Israelis anymore. … I don't want to be friends with them, I don't want to talk to them." When Ariel Sharon became prime minister, she wrote that Israelis had "elected a mass murderer," accused the Israel Defense Forces, or what she described as the "Israeli Occupying Army" of arbitrary killing, and exclaimed that "I have no love and no hope left for the other side." A month later, her lack of love turned into "hate," she admitted, while also accusing Israel of being a country "founded on hate."
In light of these statements and others like them, it should be no surprise that she has said her "objectivity got thrown out the window." Was it ever retrieved?
Although Times editors were compelled in recent months to twice amend her reports that omitted the Temple Mount's sacred status in Judaism (holiest site) while noting that site's sacred status only in Islam (third holiest), Hadid nevertheless repeats the skewed formulation yet again, for the third time, today.
BBC double standards on disputed territories
At the beginning of November the BBC World Service produced two items concerning a decades-old conflict involving an invasion, disputed territory, thousands of people living in refugee camps and more than twenty years of failed negotiations.
However, BBC audiences did not hear the words ‘occupied’ or ‘illegal under international law’ as they so frequently do in content relating to Israel. In fact, what they did hear in those two programmes was a nostalgic and sympathetic portrayal of Morocco’s ‘Green March’ into Western Sahara in 1975.
The audio version of that episode of ‘Witness’ uses the term “disputed territory” in its synopsis.
“In November 1975, King Hassan the Second ordered hundreds of thousands of Moroccans to march into disputed territory in the desert. He wanted to claim the colony of Spanish Sahara for Morocco. The Green March led to a diplomatic victory for the King, but sparked a guerrilla war and decades of instability in the region. Witness speaks to a Moroccan who was on the march.”
Hungary scraps planned statue of WWII-era anti-Semitic lawmaker
The planned statue of a key architect of anti-Semitic laws in the run-up to the Holocaust in 1930s Hungary was scrapped on Friday after an outcry from Jewish groups and others.
The foundation behind the planned memorial to Balint Homan said it has “reversed its decision to erect the statue and has informed the city hall of Szekesfehervar” in central Hungary.
The life-sized statue of Homan, a minister in the Nazi-allied Hungarian government before the 1944 German occupation, had been scheduled to be unveiled on December 29 for the 130th anniversary of his birth.
South Africa court prohibits man from sending anti-Semitic emails
A South African court has prohibited a man from wide dissemination of anti-Semitic emails since they “impinge adversely on the dignity of the Jewish people and constitute hate speech.”
The ruling was handed down Tuesday by Durban Equality Court Magistrate Aletta Moolman in favor of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and against Snowy Smith, who started massively disseminating anti-Semitic emails in October 2010.
In April 2013 the SAJBD filed a hate-speech complaint against Smith, following his dozens of anti-Semitic emails to Jewish individuals and institutions, journalists and news editors.
British White Supremacist Sentenced to Three Years in Jail for Disseminating Antisemitic Material
A British court sentenced a white supremacist to three years and fourth months in prison on Thursday for anti-Jewish incitement, the UK’s Western Gazette reported.
Southwark Crown Court convicted Joshua Bonehill, 23, of disseminating antisemitic material, including an image of weed-killer being sprayed on Jews at a Nazi concentration camp. The self-proclaimed “leader of the fascist movement, the National Liberation,” distributed the material ahead of an “Anti-Jewification” rally he helped organize in July. The demonstration was originally scheduled to take place in Golders Green, a predominately Jewish neighborhood in north London, but was later moved to an area outside Downing Street.
Bonehill was arrested in June and remanded in custody until the start of his trial on Monday. The resident of Yeovil, Somerset, who denied the charge against him, was described in court as “an extremist” who expressed “virulently racist views in respect to the Jewish community,” The Jewish Chronicle reported.
Bonehill has previously called the Holocaust “comical” and “hilarious.” Ahead of the rally in July, he urged for the creation of an “antisemitic coalition,” made up of international antisemites calling for “global action against Jewry.”
Egyptian native delivers pro-Israel message
Hussein Aboubakr — who grew up in Egypt — is now a pro-Israel speaker and a great friend of the worldwide Jewish community.
However, it wasn't always that way as the 26-year-old Aboubakr told audiences at five venues in South Florida during a tour organized by the Southeast region of StandWithUs — the Israel education organization.
In a recent phone interview, Aboubakr said: "You were shunned where I grew up if you had anything positive to say about Jews or Israel."
Aboubakr — according to his blog — was born in 1989 to an Arab Muslim family in Cairo, Egypt.
Aboubakr wrote in the blog: "I was taught that a Jew is essentially a demon in flesh and that it is our destiny as good Muslims to kill them all. … There is a Muslim consensus that any acts of violence against Israel — including suicide bombers in buses — are justified if not encouraged."
In another blog post, Aboubakr wrote: "From the days of my early childhood in Egypt, anti-Semitism was not only a common phenomenon it has been a national characteristic of my country. … Anti-Jewish propaganda can be easily found in mosques, bookstores, on the radio, in newspapers and on TV.
Ziv hospital’s Druse director on US lecture tour
Dr. Salman Zarka, the first Druse doctor to become director- general of an Israeli public hospital, is lecturing Christian and Jewish communities in the United States about Ziv Medical Center’s treatment of Syrians wounded in their country’s civil war.
Addressing Christian ministers and priests, Boston and Brown University lecturers and students and Jews in two New England states, Zarka, a lieutenant- colonel (res.) in the IDF said on Wednesday that so far, his hospital staff in Safed, has treated 600 Syrians who have crossed the border to get medical care.
Zarka was invited by the Israeli consulate in New England to visit the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to talk about what his hospital has done in the last two-and-a-half years of the Syrian fighting.
He has also given a lecture at a Boston synagogue where Israeli pupils of the Leo Baeck School from Haifa were visiting.
Yada, yada, yada: Comic Jerry Seinfeld arrives in Israel
Comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld arrive in Israel early Friday afternoon, ahead of his first-ever stand-up comedy show in Tel Aviv as part of a world tour.
He arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport on a private jet from New York, along with his crew and his opening act, comedian Mark Schiff.
Seinfeld, who has visited Israel in the past, will be performing four shows at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in south Tel Aviv on Saturday evening and on Sunday, with two back-to-back shows each day. The stadium has a seating capacity of 11,700.
Originally scheduled to do only one performance, strong demand from the Israeli public prompted producers to create an additional three shows.
Though tickets are almost entirely sold out, a select ticketing agency is holding a small number of tickets for sale to last-minute show-goers.
Christian-Jewish Aid Group Plans to Double Aliyah Efforts in 2016
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (“The Fellowship”) humanitarian aid group said it plans to double its organizing of immigration to Israel (aliyah) in 2016.
During 2015, aliyah flights initiated by The Fellowship brought more than 2,000 immigrants to Israel from the Ukraine, France, Moldova, North Africa, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela, and an unnamed Arab country. Due to the rise of anti-Semitism and violence against Jews worldwide, The Fellowship said it expects to help 4,000 Jews move to Israel this coming year, and that it will increase its aliyah efforts in countries such as Spain and Russia.
“The historic focus on aliyah as Israel’s national program to rescue the world’s Jews and build the Jewish state has dimmed, but we are ramping up a new, independent aliyah movement to help Jews from around the Diaspora who are still threatened by anti-Semitism and economic hardship,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship.
Over the course of 15 years, The Fellowship has contributed more than $200 million to the cause of aliyah, helping bring about 725,000 immigrants from Ethiopia, India, the former Soviet Union, and other countries to Israel. Additionally, 10 years ago, a $2 million seed gift from The Fellowship helped launch the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah agency.
After diplomatic battle, UN recognizes Yom Kippur as official holiday
After more than a year of diplomatic efforts led by the Israeli Mission to the United Nations, the body has recognized Yom Kippur as an official UN holiday.
Thursday’s decision was made by the UN workers committee and the UN secretariat.
A step forward had been made in 2014 when the 69th General Assembly recognized the importance of the holiday as the holiest day of the Jewish year.
The designation means no official meetings will take place on this day and employees can choose to not work on that day.
Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called the move “a decisive victory” that “finally provides an official place for the Jewish religion in the world’s parliament.”

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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